Tracking code caldwell guardian

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When Is is Time To Quit Driving?

THE GUARDIAN made one of my infrequent trips to Boise Tuesday of this week and there was a terrible back up of traffic near the Franklin on ramp of I-84 on the east bound side of the freeway.  The cause of the back up of all the traffic was an elderly driver who failed to merge into freeway traffic and had slammed on the brakes.  He had traffic backed up for several hundred feet in the construction zone as well as the entire length of the Franklin on ramp.

We struggled with the point in time our departed father should give up driving as a family after he blacked out behind the wheel and ran a bicyclist off the road and nearly took out a pedestrian on the sidewalk.  Doctors are reluctant to turn in nearly blind or otherwise medically incompetent elderly drivers, family members hate trying to get mom or dad to hang up the keys.  But this week gave me a clear understanding of when the elderly should park the car.  The on ramp merge test failure is about one of the best tests I can think of to test the capability of elderly drivers.

The elderly guy in the traffic jam on the freeway could not figure out how to merge with freeway traffic and nearly caused a chain reaction series of accidents with his decision to hit the brakes instead of merging into freeway traffic.   Very few of us have not run into this at one time or another and it is not always the elderly who hit the brakes instead of merging.   I would lump these folks into a group that need a remedial driver training course. They are a danger to themselves as well as other drivers.

This sad situation got fixed when a freeway driver stopped and let the old guy and several others merge onto the freeway.  Fact remains, it should have never happened and it is time for the old guy to hang up the car keys.


  1. Perhaps daylight hours only and no freeway driving as a step down option v. outright cut off of driving should be looked at. I would also support annual driving tests for the elderly that could be instituted at the request of family members.

    There are communities that allow the elderly to drive golf carts to get around town and still live in their homes. This is a progressive step too complicated for Idaho to consider.

  2. Unfortunately there is not adequate public transportation here in the valley. Asking the elderly to give up driving is like taking their freedom away from them. As long as we live in this republican dominated state where they pinch pennies until they bleed nothing will change.Loosen up the purse strings a little boys! Provide a better transportation system instead of spending all our dough on your pet projects and lining the pockets of each others businesses.

  3. I tried to get Mayor Nancolas to get something going to make it easier for senior citizens to get around in Caldwell several years back along with all the Internet links to NEV's I could find. I even met with him on this subject to no avail. I really do think Caldwell has a great opportunity here to welcome the use of NEV's for use on city streets.

    The ability for elderly people to get around at will and have the use of a road ready golf cart with seat belts, headlights and turn signals would be welcomed by senior citizens who are reluctant to hang up their car keys. Like everything in Caldwell, it is tough to do business and new ideas are not all that welcomed. Golf carts and NEV's on our streets are a welcome mat for the elderly who might like to live here and still have the freedom to get around at will via one of these unique vehicles. Other cities and towns allow them but alas Caldwell lacks political will in a lot of areas to be unique.

  4. With the driving skills I have seen of some of America's newer citizens, it would be carnage to let the old folks cruise around Caldwell on golf carts. Putting them in tanks or armoured cars would be more appropriate!

  5. As a society we stick our heads in the sand about lots of very real and urgent issues. Elderly drivers and their rights to drive are one of these issues. We will all get older and our reflexes and response times slow with age.

    A road ready NEV is a great suggestion and should get consideration from elected officials. It would allow the elderly to get around town to do grocery shopping, go to the doctor and access the golf course here in town.

  6. Funny but I seem to remember this page poking fun at one city's attempt at enhancing public transportation not too long ago....... Maybe Boise had the right idea after all.

    Editor Comment.. The downtown Boise "rapid transit" project was a 2.5 mile train with fixed rails costing $60 Million. It represents exactly what is wrong with government spending. What a deal one $24MM/mile for a train going nowhere.

    A Golf Cart program would require no government investment other than some minor law changes to allow the elderly the rights to navigate a cart purchased with their own cash on city streets w/o requiring a Idaho drivers license.

  7. Hordes of elderly driving golf carts in traffic. I cant think of a worse idea......

  8. Dear Stupidity,

    "Hordes" gimme a break! We have several thousand kids who ride bicycles in town and I have yet to see "Hordes" of bicycles anywhere at any time. I have been to places where golf carts are allowed on city streets causing no traffic issues at all. You must be a member of the FLAT EARTH SOCIETY. Or is is that Caldwell has so much traffic (not) a few golf carts could not be accomodated?

    I think there is plenty of room and a good idea to move forward. The video showed cars and carts on the same streets in Florida ditto in California retirement communities. I am in favor of allowing this move to accommodate people who might like a degree of independence. It works in other places and it could work here.

  9. Stupidity in action said...
    Old people can walk, take a cab, ride a bus they don't belong on the streets under any circumstances.

    Note to readers.. I lost the comment made by "Stupidity" and tried to do a reconstruct of that comment.

  10. Stupidity will be old too soon and smart too late. This person is too self centered and someone needs to spank his inner child.

    Most older people have retirements, and other streams of income to spend. I think it would be great to have a community like Caldwell welcome retired people. I can see their presence creating demand for professional level jobs down to unskilled related to elder care like nurses, geriatric doctors and demand for skilled nursing facilities as these people age in place.

    Caldwell has missed a number of economic opportunities in the past and this one makes sense to me. Getting old is not optional and accommodating and welcoming retired people to Caldwell is a very good idea. It is not new as Mayors Pasley and McCluskey talked about it for years and nothing happend on their watch.

    Idaho is not in the top ten for tax advantages for the elderly ( report and map for retirement friendly places)but it is tax friendly in a number of areas.

  11. Not even close to what I said. But that's alright. It's unpopular with you so you edited it to say something else.

    If you want to summarize try this. Plenty of other travel options available for the elderly. Golf carts and cars on the same streets = lots of dead elderly. They cant drive cars so you want to put them in a smaller vehicle and introduce them into traffic? Really? Not the smartest plan I've heard.

  12. S.I.A.,,
    You seem to have an "opinion" on elderly in golf carts driving them on public streets. The facts in this are quite a bit different. There are communities all over the USA that allow golf carts on their streets without "lots of dead elderly" as a result. Some do require a drivers licence and some do not have this requirement. How about some facts to back up your "opinion" in this matter?

    There are three Roosmoor complexes in California Laguna Woods, Seal Beach and Walnut Creek I know of that allow golf carts on their streets inside and outside of these gated communities without any serious issues beyond the occasional flat tire or dead battery. I would argue a golf cart with lights, seat belts, and turn signals is less of a safety threat than someone on a bicycle going slower than the flow of traffic. The people in cars slow down and give the bicycle the right of way. You strike me as someone with an opinion but no facts to back up that opinion.

  13. Caldwell is not a retirement community. Wake up, the light turned green grandpa. Seniors that cant drive cars don't belong on the road period. They are dangerous any way you look at them.

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